Aging On-Demand: Options for Seniors and Caregivers

Jan lives in the same townhouse complex as her mother, Sarah. Jan works in D.C. part-time, and visits her mother every evening, bringing her dinner and helping wherever she needs assistance. Jan is fortunate to have the flexibility to work at home a couple times a week, so she can drive her mom to appointments.

Jan recently got promoted, and has a new boss who wants her to physically be in the office more often. As part of her new role, she has been asked to attend several out-of-town conferences a year. Jan loves her job and is excited about her new opportunity, but is concerned that she can’t be there as much for her mother. She needs to find options to help her mother, and is intrigued by some of the on-demand services she can take advantage of to help when she cannot be there herself.

Are you a part-time or long-distance caregiver, like Jan? If so, then on-demand services may be of use to you and your senior loved one. On-demand services typically match providers with customers based on need and proximity. Apps are available to help you find the services you need and make arrangements for them when they are needed. For example, apps can help you get advice from a nurse, have food delivered, or get a ride to a doctor’s appointment, whenever needed.

There’s the app for that

On-demand services are a growing solution that are both practical and affordable. Knowing that help is just a click away is a huge relief to family members who can’t be there all the time. Below are some areas in which on-demand services are being offered for seniors and their caregivers:

Healthcare: Several startups have launched with the mission of bringing the on-demand model to elder care. HomeHero, based in Los Angeles, recently announced a program which facilitates transferring patients from the hospital to home with the help of a HomeHero caregiver. Hometeam, headquartered in New York, currently has at least 1,000 caregivers providing services in four east coast states.

Honor, in San Francisco, raised $20m in its first round of funding, and has established partnerships with the American Cancer Association and the National Parkinson’s Foundation (NFP). The company connects nonmedical, in-home caregivers with physically and mentally impaired seniors. The company vets applicants, and only accepts state-certified home health aides, nursing assistants, licensed vocational nurses, and people with recent senior caregiving experience. It also checks driving and criminal records. Before starting work, each applicant is registered with the state’s Department of Social Services. Seniors, or responsible family members, search for caregivers much in the way they might find a compatible date.


In the Metro DC area, MetroAccess is our region’s complementary paratransit service, offered in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). MetroAccess is a shared-ride, door-to-door, paratransit service for people whose disability prevents them from using bus or rail. The service provides daily trips throughout the Transit Zone in the Washington Metropolitan region. Rides are offered in the same service areas and during the same hours of operation as Metrorail and Metrobus. MetroAccess is a service of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro). Read more about it on their website and in our blog post on  transportation options in the DC area.

Ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft are addressing senior transportation with new initiatives.

For seniors who need extra assistance, Uber offers uberASSIST. This service uses drivers who are trained to help riders get into and out of the vehicle and can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers and scooters. Uber also offers uberWAV with wheelchair-accessible vehicles, though availability appears to be limited.

Given that seniors with limited transportation options might need to use ride-hailing often, Uber has been working to develop partnerships with local senior advocates, organizations, and municipalities around the country with the goal of increasing affordability. In many cities, programs are being tested in which seniors can get discounted — or even free — rides due to city support.

Lyft, meanwhile, has been partnering with senior housing operators, including Sunshine Retirement Living and Brookdale Senior Living, to offer ride-hailing services that don’t require a smartphone or credit card information. Residents in these communities can request transportation to non-emergency medical appointments or other destinations. The charges are added to residents’ monthly bills. Lyft also is testing a service that lets seniors request a ride through their Jitterbug cell phones.

With Lyft, friendlier drivers are assigned to passengers who enjoy more conversation, and drivers encourage passengers to sit in the front seat to enjoy the ride. Uber is about speedier pick-ups for your tight schedules. Either way, all it takes is a few touches on your phone.

In the San Francisco area, SilverRide serves older adults and people with mobility limitations. The company says it has national expansion plans.

Besides Uber, Lyft, and SilverRide, there are also a number of need-based volunteer driving programs available (with some notice) to take seniors to doctors’ offices and other places. The National Volunteer Transportation Center maintains a state-by-state list of volunteer transportation services.

Food Delivery:

Groceries: Peapod and Amazon Fresh allow you to order groceries for delivery with a convenient online service. Whether you would like your order delivered tomorrow or in two weeks, your groceries will come at a time convenient for you.

Restaurants: Delivering fare from roughly 35,000 restaurants in over 900 cities, Grubhub connects local restaurants with hungry customers. You can search by restaurant name, menu item, type of cuisine, etc. As soon as you find something you like, you’re able to place your order online or over the phone, for free. UberEATS provides a similar service.

For seniors, caregivers, and others, convenience defines the burgeoning on-demand industry. Today’s retirees and caregivers can get great value out of these services, and they may just enable seniors to age-in-place a little longer.

When Aging-in-Place is no Longer the Best Option

Most people want to stay in their home for as long as possible. However, if you or a loved one cannot live independently and are showing signs that living alone is a strain, it may be time to consider other alternatives.

Whether the outcome is in-home care, assisted living, or nursing home care in the future, it is always wise to plan ahead. Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection is the process of protecting assets from having to be spent down in connection with entry into assisted living or nursing home care, while also helping ensure that you and your loved ones get the best possible care and maintain the highest possible quality of life, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home. Please contact us as soon as possible to make an appointment for a consultation:

Fairfax Medicaid Asset Protection Attorney: 703-691-1888

Fredericksburg Medicaid Asset Protection Attorney: 540-479-143

Rockville Medicaid Asset Protection Attorney: 301-519-8041

DC Medicaid Asset Protection Attorney: 202-587-2797


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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.